Opening New Doors: Transitioning from a School to a Clinic

 I am not a fan of change. Honestly, I don't handle it the best. I thrive on routine. Sure I can handle small changes in my day, but big changes are hard for me, as I'm sure they are for everyone. I've heard that some of the biggest stressors caused by changes in life happen at the loss of a friend or family member, loss of a relationship, moving, or changing jobs. Tomorrow is the last day of the school year and it will be my last day working at my school of 3 years. For the four years after grad school, I've been working in the same district. Later this summer, I will be transitioning to working full time at a private clinic. 

I want to be clear, I have nothing against working in the schools. I love my school. I have the best special education team and wonderful administrators. It's just time for a change. I've been commuting across the metro for the last three years and it's wearing on me. Changing caseloads and regulations are wearing on me, but I honestly didn't have a real reason to quit my job. I would not have worked for another school.

During my undergraduate time, I had a pre-externship at an outpatient pediatric clinic and I loved it. This experience has always been a goal of mine to change at some point. Over the last year I have worked one evening a week and over breaks at the private clinic where I will be working and I loved it. It's also significantly closer to where I live.

Will there be challenges? Yes. Do I have more learning to do? Yes. Do I feel completely ready to make the switch? No, but it is exciting.

These last few days of school have been bittersweet. I am excited to start my new adventure, but I will miss my students and fellow teachers so much. Change is hard. Tears have been shed and I know it will take me a while to get used to the change. What I know is that I will still have a support system at home, at my school, and at my clinic. God has blessed me to have amazing opportunities in my past and my future. I know that he will lead me in the way of his path for me.

10 Therapy Materials I Can't Live Without

As speech language pathologists know, there are certain materials worth their weight in gold. Now, the materials might be different for each therapist. I primarily work with students grades k-5 who are in setting 1, 2, and 3 programs. There is a small shelf where I keep all my most frequently used supplies next to where I sit at the therapy group table. This keeps all my "go-to's" within reach during sessions. Many things are organized into binders, piles and some rubbermaid drawers.

So what's on my shelf?

1. Webber's Jumbo Articulation Drill Book An updated version is available, but I received this as a hand-me-down. This book has pictures, word lists, phrases, and sentences organized by sounds. If I had no other articulation materials, I could do my sessions with this book or copies of its pages.  This is made by Super Duper. Find it HERE
2. Social Thinking Books
Our special education department has both the Superflex and these "We Thinkers" (formerly The Incredible Flexible You) created by Socialthinking books provide a foundation to teach the basics of social thinking. These books make my teaching of social thinking much more organized. Find it HERE

3. Expanding Expression Tool
You may have seen these beads on Pinterest or other blogs. The EET was created by Sara L. Smith, an SLP Each bead corresponds to an attribute used for describing. It's a great way to work on descriptions, categorizing, and organizing oral and written presentation of material. Find it HERE

4. Supporting Knowledge in Language and Literacy (SKILL)
I mentioned this resource in a previous post on Narrative language. This program was created by Sandi and Ron Gilam, authors of the TNL. If you target narrative language skills in an elementary school, this is a fabulous way to target it in an organized way. The handbook and disc include lesson plans (and scripts for you!), worksheets, sample stories, and progress monitoring tools. Find it HERE

5. Artic Shuffle
"Are we playing a game today?" my student frequently ask. Artic Shuffle is made by Lingusystems When I pull out these cards, they are excited and I am happy because there is no prep involved and lots of practice. These cards come in a normal 52 card deck. Each deck is based on an articulation target. Each card, Ace through King has a picture of the target sound. You can play any normal card game with these. Find it HERE

6. 5-Minute Kids
This resource from 5-Minute Kids is perfect for short sessions, word lists, progress monitoring and more. If I don't have time to plan for an articulation session, I can pull this off the shelf and work at the word or sentence level for nearly every phoneme. Find it HERE

7. Magnetalk
I love Super Duper's Magnetalk match up for following directions. It includes many different scenes to use as barrier games. My favorite part is the magnetic white board easel that's included. I also use the magnets to sort categories, especially when working on animal vocabulary. This resource is also created by Super Duper and you can find it HERE

8. Lids 'n Lizards
I love this game. It includes magnets of various categories. Sometimes I use the magnets with the gam, other times I use the magnets on a whiteboard or filing cabinet to sort vocabulary. My students love hiding the lizard. It's also a great way to work on asking questions and critical thinking. Many times a student will ask, "Is it under the sock? Is it under the cat? Is it under the car?" Instead I encourage them to look at the similarities and differences of the objects to create a better question. Another SuperDuper resource you can find HERE

 9. Pirate Talk
This Super Duper game includes a variety of stimulus cards focused on language skills such as following directions, comprehension questions, inferencing, and describing. But, as with many games, you can target any skill with the game pieces. Students love collecting gold coins as they make their way around the board. This is a frequent request from my students as a game to play during sessions. Find it HERE

10. Artic Tickle Stories
I have many students whose IEP goals for articulation focus on reading and conversation. Let's be honest though, some of our paragraphs heavy with specific phonemes are not interesting. These stories are created by students in a mad-lib format. There are word lists of target sounds by part of speech (nouns, verbs, adverbs, etc.). This is great for my older students who are "so over" therapy but still need lots of practice. A for sure winner that they will actually show their parents. Find it HERE from Super Duper.

What are your go-to therapy resources?